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Native American Legends

The Possum and the Raccoon

A Choctaw Legend

The Choctaws knew 'Possum when he had hair on his tail. 'Possum's tail was gray with white hair mixed in and it was very nice to look at.

When 'Possum met Raccoon he looked and looked at Raccoon's tail. Raccoon's tail had stripes on it and 'Possum wished that he had stripes on his tail too.

'Possum asked Raccoon, "Raccoon, how did you get those stripes on your tail?"

Raccoon said, "All raccoons have stripes on their tails."

'Possum told Raccoon, "I want stripes on my tail too!"

Raccoon said, "You are a 'possum and you should have a 'possum tail."

"But I want stripes", 'Possum pouted.

So Raccoon said, "Someone told me that you could wrap bark from a tree around your tail, then cook your tail over a fire. When your tail is cooked, it will have stripes."

'Possum ran to a tree and took some bark and wrapped his tail. Then 'Possum built a fire and cooked his tail.

When 'Possum unwrapped his tail there were no rings. 'Possum looked again and saw that there was no hair. 'Possum began to cry. Then 'Possum said, "I was so silly. I will always like my tail, no matter how it looks." But the hair never grew back.

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